H.R. 38: The Truth About Concealed Carry Reciprocity

By Larry Keane published on in Concealed Carry, Legal

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, H.R. 38 was one of the first bills introduced in the 2017 legislative session. This week, it was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with a vote of 231 to 198. Not everyone sees H.R. 38, and it associated FixNICS language as a positive. However, it is unclear how much of the dissent is a result of being uninformed or being a victim of disinformation.

Brown handled .38 in a light tan Galco holster

This .38 carries well in a Galco holster. The .38 Special is a realistic minimum for concealed carry.

With U.S. House passage of H.R. 38 this week, as amended to include the Fix NICS Act, we are moving toward the one reform that will do the most to help keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. And, despite what some have falsely claimed, it will do so while not interfering with the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Second Amendment Rights Don’t End at State Borders

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will do several things. First and foremost, it will ensure that Second Amendment rights don’t end at state borders. It will allow authorized handgun owners who are legally permitted in their home state to carry a concealed firearm in others states that also allow concealed carry. Given that all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, now have some form of concealed carry permit, it would eliminate a dangerous patchwork of laws that concealed carry permit holders must navigate across state lines.

The sponsor of the legislation, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) summed it up when he said, “This is just simple, common-sense legislation that says if you’re a law-abiding citizen we’re not going to turn you into a criminal just for crossing an invisible state line.”

Burden of Proof Lies With the States

The legislation would also shift the burden of proof where it belongs, on the state, to demonstrate a permit holder didn’t comply with their state laws. When it comes to federal lands, concealed carry permit holders would be permitted to carry concealed firearms in the National Parks System, National Wildlife Refuge System and lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.

States would maintain the authority to set their own firearms laws and regulations for issuing permits in within their borders. The legislation provides that a permit holder who carries in another state must abide by that state’s laws and regulations when it comes to carrying concealed. Residents of states that passed Constitutional carry laws would be able to carry in another state with Constitutional carry without having to obtain a permit.

Ranger II with Holster

The Ranger II with Holster delivers a vertical carry solution.

Opposition and Outlandish Claims

That hasn’t stopped opponents of gun rights and firearms from lashing out, sometimes with outlandish claims of what is to come if the legislation is eventually signed into law.

Claim: The U.S. Conference of Mayors, including no less than anti-gun Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago, claims concealed carry reciprocity would “remove local governments’ ability to maintain sensible gun standards, and keep a proper vetting process in place …”

Correction: This is just plain wrong. As previously stated above, the bill would allow states to set their own laws and regulations. If a state requires a permit to carry concealed, and a firearms owner comes from a state that has Constitutional carry, that person would be required to obtain a permit from their home state before carrying a firearm concealed in their neighboring state with stricter concealed carry laws.

Claim: Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety claims the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would “make our communities less safe.” That chicken-little sky-is-falling hyperbole has been tried before. It wasn’t’ true then, and it just isn’t true now. As individual states passed laws permitting law-abiding gun owners to carry concealed, predictions of a cataclysm were never borne out.

Correction: The opposite has been true. More than 16.3 million law-abiding Americans have concealed carry permits. This year, more than 1.83 million alone were issued. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center reported violent that crimes fell, and at a considerable rate. Lott’s study also found that concealed carry permit holders were actually more law-abiding than the population in general, with permit holders committing crimes at even lower percentages than police officers.

Pick the right equipment

Left: Drawing fast is one thing, but movement while doing so is a skill everyone should possess. Have you worked on offline movement? Right: Carrying a gun might be uncomfortable at first, but after a few weeks, you will rarely ever notice the gun. You will want to find a carry holster that is comfortable and allows you to carry a gun you would want to fight with.

Claim: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords group has been particularly vocal in her groups’ opposition to permitting Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Her group issued a press release following the House of Representatives’ passage, claiming the legislation would “let people with violent criminal histories carry guns.” This is a patently false claim.

Correction: Individuals with a violent criminal history are not permitted to buy a firearm, much less carry that firearm concealed in public. States issuing permits run the same FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) on applicants just as they do on anyone purchasing a firearm. If that individual isn’t allowed to buy a firearm because of a prohibiting factor, including felony convictions, mental health adjudication, domestic violence convictions and a fugitive from justice, among other disqualifying grounds, that person would be barred from receiving a concealed carry permit.

The irony is, this Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, in addition to providing America with an increasingly law-abiding armed citizenry, would also strengthen background checks by incentivizing states to submit criminal and mental health records of prohibited persons.

Advancing to the U.S. Senate

There is still work to be done. A companion bill is still being considered in the Senate, where antigun Senators have vowed to do everything in their power to block the legislation. And, gun control groups like Mayor Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety are already lining up to file lawsuits to thwart the exercise of the Second Amendment.

Where do you stand on National Concealed Carry Reciprocity? Share your answer in the comment section.

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Comments (44)

  • Dennis Clancy


    I feel that if law abiding citizens have the right to carry in all states we would have less crime,if the criminals know that you may have a gun,they will think twice before trying to commit a crime and if more retired and off duty law enforcement officers could carry in any state some of the mass shootings could be stopped before more people are shot.


  • Wayne Birman


    Y’all can argue rights if you want! It’s lawful to carry is all I’ll say on that.

    If this becomes law, it will serve no purpose. The Federal Gun Free School Zone Act is still law and will make out of state travail with out committing a felony almost impossible.


  • Stan


    Please give us proof that God gives us this right! Where is this found specifically?


    • Jeff


      Who is us Stan? I’m not trying to convert you or them, whoever us is. However the fact that history confirms we are a christian nation. And the US constitution is the document that separates us from failed democracies throughout history.It will continue to preserve this nation. In fact if you will stop and concider the the U.S. is a republic with democratic process. It is so uniquely different. Those of the christian faith believe that it was the devine providential will of God. To establish this wonderfully unique nation. But that’s what’s so righteous about my God. It’s your free will choice to accept or reject what He offers. Unlike Communist, Muslim or other secular forms of government. That will kill you for expressing opposing views or beliefs. If that’s not divinely inspired liberty or freedom. Please let me know what is. And lastly, please concider we have the most powerful military on the planet. And it’s all volunteer! Why?


    • Jeff


      James 1:17 Just one example. It’s bible so I won’t risk offending folks.


  • Jeff


    Hey Mark, I couldn’t agree more that our freedom comes from God. But the 2nd amendment is a state’s sovereignty protection. And if you think the government can’t come after are guns. Please tell me how I can get them to stop spending my money on abortion. We live in a fallin world.


  • Mark


    Sorry Jeff, you’re wrong on this one. You said that the right to keep and bear arms is a federally granted right. You’ve fallen into the trap too many fall into because we don’t teach American History anymore. The right to keep and bear arms is NOT granted by the federal government. It’s granted by Almighty God, and is given to all men. All the Second Amendment does is prohibit the government from infringing upon that God-given right. Remember, what the government gives, the government can take away. What GOD gives, only GOD can take away!


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